Over the past two years, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University has carried out a number of research activities designed to improve our understanding of the knowledge, usage, and effectiveness of circumvention tools as a means to promote access to information online in repressive online environments. In addition to earlier papers on circumvention tool usage and the circumvention landscape, this research has resulted in three new publications:

  • The Evolving Landscape of Internet Control
    by Hal Roberts, Ethan Zuckerman, Rob Faris, Jillian York, and John Palfrey
    This paper summarizes the results of the studies that have been undertaken in order to better understand the control of the Internet in less open societies. It provides an overview of research in the context of recent changes in the methods used to control online speech, and some thoughts on the challenges to online speech in the immediate future.
  • International Bloggers and Internet Control
    by Hal Roberts, Ethan Zuckerman, Jillian York, Rob Faris, and John Palfrey
    Infringements on Internet freedom, particularly through Internet filtering and surveillance, have inspired activists and technologists to develop technological counter-measures, most notably circumvention tools to defeat Internet filters and anonymity tools to help protect user privacy and avoid online surveillance efforts. However, despite the perceived importance of this field, relatively little is known about the demand for and usage patterns of these tools. In December 2010, a sample of international bloggers was surveyed to better understand how, where, why, and by whom these tools are being used.
  • Circumvention Tool Evaluation
    by Hal Roberts, Ethan Zuckerman, and John Palfrey
    This paper evaluates 19 circumvention tools tested in five countries. It focuses on questions of utility—the ability for a tool to be installed and used in a particular location, and the accuracy and speed of the tool. Additionally, it addresses concerns about security, usability and openness when appropriate.

For more information about the Berkman Center’s research on circumvention, including links to these and other reports, please visit: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/research/circumvention